The Employment Relations Authority will try to resolve the bitter dispute between Ports of Auckland and the union representing its striking workers.

During mediation today the Maritime Union and the company both agreed to make an urgent application to the Authority to settle their eight-month dispute.

Ports of Auckland said it was hopeful facilitation would help by providing both parties with clear recommendations made by a neutral but experienced third party.

The Maritime Union has also welcomed the move.

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"We're quite happy with going there because the ERA facilitator will give direction and suggest what to do, which we wouldn't get otherwise," said national president Garry Parsloe.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown yesterday welcomed involving the authority.

He said it was time for the two sides to put aside their differences and consider Auckland's best interests.

"The majority of Aucklanders would agree with me that the dispute has gone on way to long."